‘How I Live Now’ by Meg Rosoff has quickly become one of those books, like Mark Haddon‘s ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ beloved by reading groups and mature women, although it is written for a young adult audience.
Despite being told from the point of view of a spiky fifteen year old New Yorker and set during a Third World War, the book has a mythical, fairy tale quality as our heroine, Daisy, embarks on a quest to find her soulmate and cousin, the ethereal, mindreading Edmond. The book is a fairly traumatic read as the children are separated and witness the atrocities of the war – more upsetting to those of a similar frame of mind to me is the death of poor Ding the baby goat – but despite this there are some lovely scenes as Daisy is welcomed into the unusual family she has never met and nursed back into sanity, before she takes her position at the helm of the family in her attempts to reunite them through the initial stages of the war.
Having read this book twice I can certainly recommend it to all ages from mid teens (although note should be taken that it does contain non-graphic underage sex between cousins!). My only problem is the abrupt shift at the end where Daisy is suddenly whisked out of England and there is a jump of six years. The ending isn’t quite satisfactory, although I can understand why, and it left me with a sense of yearning for the life Daisy and Osmond could have had together.